I stole this meme (what the hell is a meme anyway? Is it even a real word?) from a Facebook friend of mine. Indecision can indeed be deadly. On the other hand, if you’re going in the wrong decision then speed is not an asset. The trick is to know when to wait and when to run.
That’s not what I wanted to write about, however. Seeing this got me thinking about my friend. We met while I was in the process of getting drunk in a Las Vegas bar. Those can be the best kind of friends. No airs. No pretending to be someone you’re not. Just trading stories and laughter. Makes the time go by and the loneliness fade.
This friend and I have kept loosely in touch the past couple years since we met, but mostly we went our own ways. Life is like that. People come and go… and often too soon. Turn the page.
The best friends are those who are there when you are down. Who let you be you, but aren’t afraid to challenge your thinking, either. Who can tell you you’re full of shit and you take it. Even if you think they are wrong, they’re right often enough to cause you to keep listening. That and they buy the drinks as often as not. Those friends are most rare of all.
Maybe that’s what’s wrong with America today. We don’t have enough friends that pay for their own drinks or who disagree with us. We each live in our own echo chambers; only friends with whom we agree. We live in our “womb to tomb” religious and political ghettos. Progressives watch MSNBC and Comedy Central. Alt-Conservatives watch Fox News and pretty much nothing else. Maybe NCIS. We are afraid to speak of matters of substance because discourse descends into debate. Anger animates our speech instead of love leavening it.
My Las Vegas bar friend was no echo of my own views. We agreed on very little. But our discussions were informed and thoughtful, fueled by alcohol though they were, and maybe we gained a new appreciation for the other.
So tonight I lift a drink to my friend. Don’t know when I’ll see you again but when I do maybe we can laugh some more. I’d like that. I’ve got the first round or three. Same place at Mandalay Bay?